Kicking a Marketing Goal

There is an old joke that suggests when being introduced to the AFL you need to learn the ABC’s of Football. This ABC, of course, stands for ‘Anything But Collingwood’. However with the latest marketing news out of the Collingwood camp, their ABC may stand for ‘Arranging Better Communication’ or even the ‘Absolutely Best Club’ by the end of 2014.

collingwood

Collingwood Football Club is already one of the biggest in the league. It has 294,044 Facebook fans, 55,741 Twitter followers, and is continually breaking membership records. But there is a reason behind these astounding figures: great communication with the fans.

It was announced that after posting a $5.2 million profit last year, the club will invest $1.5 million into its digital media division. This includes hiring producers and presenters, and a head of production to run a new studio built at the Westpac centre training base.

Yes, you read that sentence properly. Collingwood has built their own recording studio!

But why do they need their own recording studio? Surely they can’t compete with big commercial networks. Well, here’s the short answer . . . they don’t have to.

Collingwood CEO, Gary Pert, has set his focus on understanding the fans. And from the research that has been carried out these fans want more information about the club and a behind-the-scenes view into weekly activities. Hence the aim of the club (apart from winning the premiership) is to provide news and feature content through an on-demand system which is available to interested audiences 24 hours a day.

Plus, there will be exclusive premium content for members – providing some more incentive to join the club!

The club has already had great success with its self-produced The Club, a 30-minute weekly Collingwood centred television program shown on Foxtel’s Fox Footy. And the aim is to continue this success providing targeted and high quality content for the AFL audience.

The only issue is loyalty.

AFL supporters are notorious for their life-long loyalty to a club. No matter how badly their club is playing or how many premierships another club wins, a large portion of each club’s membership contingent is fiercely loyal. This means they won’t consider changing no matter what Collingwood can provide for them.

But maybe that isn’t the market for this new strategy. It will dramatically increase the loyalty of the current Collingwood supporters by providing them with behind-the-scenes insights and build relationships with the players through increased exposure in their new programs. It will also be effective in capturing those members in other clubs who aren’t particularly brand loyal.

And then there are the new consumers. The population is growing. Everyday teenagers are looking for new ways to rebel against their brand-loyal parents (and one of those could be joining a different footy club!).

Best of luck to Collingwood in the next season with some fantastic communications strategy.

Maybe it is time the big theatre companies started thinking about how they can increase their audience’s loyalty through the provision of high quality content. The industry is probably not at the stage of building their own recording studios yet, but they already have theatres, lighting and sound people, and trained actors. Surely we could work something out!

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